A paramedic ridiculed the corpse of a person with dwarfism and has received backlash for his actions.
In a now deleted video, Zac Crickenberger (@TheSleepyParamedic), who works as a first responder, posted on TikTok last week saying that when responding to a call about the death of a little person, he and his colleague listened to “The Lollipop Guild” from The Wizard of Oz while they were in their truck near the deceased’s grieving family. The song is sang by “munchkins” in the movie, who were portrayed by people with dwarfism.
Dwarfism is a genetic condition that affects approximately 1 in 15,000 people in the U.S. It is characterized by short stature.
“I am aware that I’m an asshole,” Crickenberger says in his TikTok. “But it was really, really funny.”
@aubreysmalls @The Sleepy Paramedic 😴 ♬ original sound – Aubrey Smalls
Aubrey Smalls, a creator who is a person with dwarfism, made a TikTok on Friday explaining why Crickenberger’s story was insensitive and discriminatory.
“Disabled people’s bodies are not the basis of a joke,” Smalls says in their video.
They also say that though Crickenberger refers to people with dwarfism as “dwarves,” the correct terminology is person with dwarfism, little person, or individual of short stature.
“Imagine the family of that victim who passed away having to see this video,” Smalls says in their TikTok. “Of people they entrusted to take care of the body of your loved one making fun of the fact that they were a little person.”
Smalls also calls on Crickenberger to apologize for his insensitive story, which he did on Sunday. As reported by Insider, the paramedic said he heard from many people with dwarfism who told him “just how fucked up the video that [he] made was.”
Crickenberger has since deleted his apology video and all but one of his videos on TikTok because, as Insider reported, he was receiving death threats.
Yesterday, Smalls posted a TikTok saying that followers of Crickenberger mass reported the accounts of little people who called out the paramedic’s joke, and that the entire situation has “turned into an attack on little people.”
“The harm done to demonize little people will stay,” Smalls wrote in the caption of their video. “We are all human and it’s not asking too much when we ask not to be used as your joke just so you can get internet clout.”